Sellers Market for Townhouse Owners in Prince William County, VA

By
Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

I have spent the last few months feeling like I am chasing my tail.  I have been representing a slew of first time buyers looking for townhouses in Prince William County.  The current in this market feels swift--swifter than the market reports have been showing. 

Right now, using figures from January 2009 shows that we ended the month with 1215 active townhouse listings.  The number sold during the month of January were 313.  Those under contract in January numbered450.  Taking those active listings and dividing by the ones that sold, we find an absorption rate of 3.88.  That means it would take nearly four months to sell all of this inventory if nothing new came on the market.  And this absorption rate indicates a stablized market.

However, as someone who calls listing agents for townhouses in the Prince William County market daily, I can tell you that this absorption rate is WRONG.  An estimated one quarter orf the homes that are showing active are actually under contract with a contingency. If we take that into account, the absorption rate is lower...and squarely a seller's advantage with less than three months to sell everything that's on the market.

A townhouse owner in Prince William County is actually in a seller's market!!

Information in our MLS is only as good as the agents contributing to that MLS are honest.  And short sales seem to be the bain of everyone's existence.  That's another blog.  But the important thing to realize is that, as a result of misinformation in the MLS, the market reports are skewed toward stable, when they are really seller's markets.

 

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Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Wow, Chris Ann, a RARE seller's market in this location and this category. Thanks for bringing it to everyone's attention. You are definitely on top of your stats and what is going on!!

Feb 15, 2009 06:38 AM #1
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Liz Loadholt
Liz Loadholt- AgentOwned Realty- Covering SC - Mount Pleasant, SC
Realtor--Broker-in-charge - Trainer--Relocation Director Covering SC

Chris Ann, Very interesting --- just imagine the MLS being wrong, ha ha.

Mama Liz's Signature

Feb 15, 2009 07:26 AM #2
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Gary:  Can't help but absorb this stuff when I'm out there everyday with my buyers.

Liz:  More the agents that don't get what ACTIVE vs. CONTRACT mean.  It's dumbfounding.

Feb 15, 2009 08:08 AM #3
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Trey Thurmond
BCR Realtors - College Station, TX
College Station , Texas Homes

Chris Ann

Four months is a really good rate. I bet the rest of the country would love to have that!

Feb 15, 2009 01:44 PM #4
Rainmaker
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Tchaka Owen
Galleria International Realty - Hollywood, FL

Chris Ann - I wish this would be at the forefront of local news because lenders are still considering homes beyond Arlington and McLean to be 'Declining' and that affects the amount they allow buyers to borrow. 

Feb 15, 2009 05:19 PM #5
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Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Chris Ann:  Why anyone... any listing agent... would recommend a seller take a contingency contract... is beyond me.  Now, I know all Realtors are different... but if I have a buyer who is actively looking... I would NEVER show a home that had a contingency contract accepted on it.  What an exercise in futility.

Question:  why are you finding yourself calling all these listing agents ?  Do you have to set your showing appointments through them ?  Or are you just checking on the status of the already-accepted contingency contract... to see if you should even bother showing it ?

Feb 15, 2009 05:23 PM #6
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Chris Ann-some of the townhouses left over would be perfect for a neighborhood revitilization program with some of the "stimulus" money.  If you are like me and toured a few you know that the average buyer isn't going to be able to take them on.  We can only hope that once the $8000 tax credit is sorted out that we can move a few more properties in our area!

Feb 15, 2009 11:45 PM #7
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Trey:  We got hit early and very hard with the 13 months of inventory and bottoming out prices.  Looks like Fairfax County, our neighbor to the east is in for it now.

Tchaka:  Fairfax County is declining now...rapidly.  They are taking the hit we in Prince William took last year.

Karen Anne:  It's the latter.  I call them to see if their listing really is available.  And 25% of the time, I'm told that ACTIVE listings got mutiple offers submitted to the bank.  If my buyers like that kind of pain, I can recommend a quicker way to get the end result....pick up a cast iron skillet and hit yourself on the head. 

Cindy:  I'm finding that the average buyer in my area is changing.  Everyone likes move in ready for sure, but in a market loaded with burned out, distressed sales, I think that people are looking to take advantage of the FHA 203K Streamline loan and move into a great neighborhood, and not necessarily, a great townhouse. 

Feb 16, 2009 12:56 AM #8
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Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Doesn't your MLS enter listings into pending status once they are under contract? Even our screwy system allows short sale listings to be entered as short sale contingent. Sometimes agents drag their feet about changing the status, though, so like you, I still have to call them. Besides, it helps to know if any other offers are on their way in.

Elizabeth Weintraub Land Park Real Estate Agent in Sacramento

Feb 16, 2009 03:34 AM #9
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Elizabeth:  Too many agents contributing to our MLS do not change from ACTIVE status on short sales with ratified contracts.  We do our best to get the word out, but still too many violations.

Feb 16, 2009 07:41 AM #10
Rainer
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Jamie Boney
Mungo Homes - Columbia, SC

I bet your clients are having a hard time swallowing that the sellers are able to determine what is going on!!!  I am having a hard time explaining to people that my builder won't consider ridiculously low offers!

Feb 16, 2009 11:11 AM #11
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Jamie:  I hate those lowballers too!  Everyone wants market value....Mr. & Mrs. Seller, the banks and the builders.  I think we need to start strapping handles on clues so these chronic lowballers can grab a hold of one.

Feb 16, 2009 01:40 PM #12
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Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Executives - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"

Chris Ann  I agree the homes in liveable condition are in demand, but I doubt if we will see the same movement on short sales in the short term,  Karen

Feb 17, 2009 12:46 AM #13
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Karen:  I disagree.  More and more are going to the settlement table.  I have two short sales closing this month.  It's just slower moving...and the ones remaining active that have ratified contracts are certainly skewing the numbers.

Feb 17, 2009 03:58 AM #14
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